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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

THE    DANGERS    OF .HISTORY

therefore, has sometimes had a deadening effect on
military strategists ; and it has often been a criticism of
them that they were too prone to conduct the present
war on the method of the previous one, forgetting how
times had changed.

It seems true, however, that many of the errors which
spfing from a little history are often corrected as people
go on to study more and more history. If a man had
a knowledge of many wars and of the whole history of
die art of war, studying not merely the accounts of battles
and campaigns, but relating the weapons of a given
period to the conditions of the time, relating policies to
circumstances, so that he came to have an insight into
the deep causes of things, the hidden sources of the
changes that take place—if he allowed this knowledge
not to lie heavily on his mind, not to be used in a narrow
and literal spirit, but to sink into the walls of his brain
so that it was turned into wisdom and experience—then
such a person would be able to acquire the right feeling
for the texture of events, and would undoubtedly avoid
becoming the mere skve of the past, I think he would
be better able to face a new world, and to meet the
surprises of unpredictable change with greater flexibility.
A little history may make people mentally rigid. Only
if we go on learning more and more of it—go on
" unlearning " it—will it correct its own deficiencies
gradually and help us to reach the required elasticity of
mind.

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